Looking for answers on the beeswax vs. soy wax debate? I share all I know in this post about the differences between the two, so you can make the best choice yourself.
It’s down to personal preference at the end of the day!
It’s a fundamental question that’s on people’s minds when it comes to making candles in particular.
If you’re wondering this and want answers – you’re in the right place.
I aim to share my knowledge on the beeswax vs. soy wax debate so you can make an informed decision.
Both have good and bad points in truth, but I don’t want to persuade you. Instead, I think it’s best to have all information to hand and make the choice yourself.
beeswax vs. soy candles
Both of these ingredients are 100% natural and can be sustainable if you shop in the right way. Being natural means there are zero concerns over pollutants or chemicals being released during the burn time.
Nonetheless, there are differences between soy wax vs. beeswax, and it’s worthwhile looking at each separately depending on what’s important to you.
We’ll look at these differences separately.
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Like for like, beeswax tends to be more costly than soy wax simply because it’s more expensive to produce.
It depends on how you look at pricing, though. You will get more burn time from a beeswax candle, meaning it will last longer, reducing the need to make another one so quickly.
If you’re purely looking at the cost to purchase, then usually, soy wax is cheaper than beeswax.
How are they sourced?
Beeswax is sourced 100% from bees (or the beehives, to be specific)
This is what makes beeswax a touch more costly than soy. It also means it’s not produced in the exact same mass-market way that soy wax is because there has to be a limit to the number of beehives at some point.
Soy wax comes exclusively from soybean oil which is produced through a specific harvesting process.
Many countries grow soybeans nowadays for this purpose, and some have questionable environmental impacts. Shop sustainable soy wax always if you can.
According to several sources, beeswax melts at around 145°F. However, there is a range of 5 degrees, plus or minus, depending on the sourcing of the wax.
When cooling, beeswax has a tendency to shrink. To minimize cracking, it is best to use tall containers rather than wide ones. This will ensure a successful cooling process.
Soy wax has a slightly lower melting point than beeswax at around 130°F, but again, slight variations on the exact melting temperature depend on the source and purity of the wax.
Like beeswax, you may notice some shrinkage when using soy wax. But with its lower melting point and allowing it to cool slightly before pouring into the candle container, you’ll hardly notice it.
It may be to no surprise to hear that beeswax smells of a slight honey scent.
That sweet, comforting aroma is lovely, but equally, when you add essential oils or other fragrances to it, the honey scent isn’t powerful at all.
It’s very mild, in fact. When I hold a block of beeswax in my hands, I actually have to sniff really hard to smell any honey scent at all!
Some candle manufacturers offer unscented beeswax candles because of the desirable, mild aroma they provide.
You’d struggle to smell a scent at all when it comes to soy wax. To me, it smells of nothing!
This is partly why it’s popular as a candle base, as fragrances can be added to it, and the scent takes hold extremely well.
Which burns cleaner?
Both beeswax and soy wax burn cleanly with very little soot or smoky residue, in my experience.
You wouldn’t notice any difference between the two if you didn’t know what they were beforehand, that’s for sure.
You can read about the benefits of beeswax here.
Ah, now we’re getting onto the exciting stuff! Now, beeswax is readily known to burn for a longer time compared to soy wax.
The answer to why this happens is because it has that higher melting point.
A beeswax candle will burn approximately 50% longer than a soy candle of the same size and volume.
To summarize: Beeswax has a longer burn time.
Let me start by saying that every ingredient on the market today, whether natural or unnatural, has some environmental impact when considering the bigger picture.
Beeswax is believed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable as it comes directly from bees, which is a natural, pure resource. It’s also biodegradable and renewable (aka able to be used repeatedly.)
Yet to get enough bees to produce the beeswax is another story. Of course, the more bees you have, the more beeswax will be produced, which makes sense.
Many large-scale growers of beeswax sadly use chemicals to ‘speed up’ the process causing huge stress on the bee population and also knocking out much of the natural ecosystem.
When shopping for beeswax, consider buying from small companies or local growers, such as you’ll find at your local farmers market. Or, better yet, raise your own bees!
Like beeswax, soy wax is biodegradable and renewable.
Much of the soybean growing market is done sustainably – meaning there are set criteria the growers must follow to grow soybeans sustainably with as minimal impact on the local environment as possible.
The fact that soybeans are used in so many products means there is already a massive market for it.
And to grow ‘sustainably’ means clearing certain habitats to make space for the soybean production line.
As you can see, both beeswax and soy wax have an environmental impact of sorts.
Always buy your wax from a sustainable source if you can, and try to minimize the air miles or carbon footprint by buying locally.
Vegan or not
Beeswax is undoubtedly not vegan as it’s produced by bees, whereby soy wax is 100% vegan as it comes from a plant source.
Toxic or not
Neither beeswax nor soy wax are toxic as they both come from natural, biodegradable resources.
If you’re ever overly concerned, opt for organic wax where you can, which ensures the wax is sourced from a pesticide-free environment.
The big winner
As you can see, there are pros and cons between beeswax and soy wax. I personally prefer using beeswax. I love the color, aroma, and, of course, the longer burn time.
I wouldn’t say there’s a definite winner between the two. It’s purely down to what you want to use and what you’re happy using.
I hope you found this post helpful and have some key facts up your sleeve to go forward with. Feel free to comment or ask any questions.
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